Homemade Donuts

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday, January 31, 2010

My mother started this tradition in my hometown of Oklahoma City about 30 years ago (I can't believe I just said that, I hate talking about my age). I love this quick breakfast that Chloe asks for every now and then on a Wednesday before school. It's basically a biscuit you put a hole in and fry up in a pan, using a fry daddy makes life much easier though. I like a choice of topping of either Cinnamon and sugar or icing which is powdered sugar with a dab of milk. Having this every now and then makes breakfast exciting. A year ago when Counts Louise and Shanks and the kids spent the night, I made this and he reminisced about growing up with these donuts. It brings back good memories.

Homemade Donuts

1 package plain donuts (don't use Grands and I usually buy the 5 count sleeve)
Fry Daddy

1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 T. milk, I use 1% or skim

I wing it here, just eyeball some sugar and throw a little milk in at a time, you can get it way too thin if you put too much milk in, then you have to keep adding powdered sugar.

Cinnamon and Sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. Cinnamon

I really wing it here too, I'm not sure about the measurements, I do have more sugar then Cinnamon.

Plug in Fry Daddy (I always use Canola Oil) and preheat 5 minutes. To test that the grease is hot enough, I pinch some of a biscuit and flick it in the grease, when it rises to the top and grease is bubbling around it, you can start to cook the biscuits. I only cook 2-3 at a time because it will cool down your grease temperature if you put a ton in. Flip when brown on one side then drain on paper towels.

Ice or put in Cinnamon mixture immediately, the topping sticks better when it's warm when you top it.

We had Whit and Stella over last night and Chloe and I shared our morning tradition with them, we love the sunrise (and sunset for that matter). And Chloe's "little brother", Biscuit, loves a piece of donut and is usually sitting around waiting on one and he was this morning!


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Before our power went off Friday night, I made a pot of chili. I love how easy this recipe is and it's low fat which is always good for me. I have had this recipe for 15 years and recently I've added my own spin on it. I also freeze it so I can make Jackie a Frito-chili Pie later on. I'll add how I do the pie at the end of this.

Chili (this is one recipe but I did double it today so I can freeze the extra)

1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 white onion, chopped small
2 cloves minced garlic
1-14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1-14 oz. can crushed tomatoes (you can substitute diced)
1-8 oz. can tomato sauce
1-4 oz. can diced green chilies
1/4 c. vinegar (yes, use white)
1-14 oz. black beans, rinsed (you can leave this out or substitute)
1-14 oz. can chili beans, rinsed (you can substitute kidney beans)
2 T. hot chili powder (you can use regular)
1 t. ground oregano (you can use dried)
2 t. Tabasco
1 T. Asian chili paste (you can buy this at amazon.com or in specialty food stores. I use this paste also in soups and casseroles for that "kick")

Brown beef and onions over med-high heat in soup pot until cooked through and crumbly. I use a wooden spoon to break up the meat so it isn't left in chunks, that's Jackie's request from many years ago. Drain and wipe out your pot with a paper towel. Return to pan and add the remaining ingredients, stirring well. Cook over medium heat until it boils, then lower heat to low so it will simmer with the lid on. In an ideal situation, cook over low heat for 4 hours, but 45 minutes will do. This recipe also is better the next day. The two things I added to this recipe over the years, that I love, are the black beans and the chili paste. Freeze in plastic bags when it's cooled to room temperature. You can freeze for 3 months.

Frito Chili Pie

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. In a 2 quart casserole dish, spray with cooking spray and over bottom of dish with Frito's. You can use Scoops or regular Frito's. Put thawed chili over Frito's and top with shredded cheddar and cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes until bubbly around the edges.

We had a marshmellow roast for smores last night...lots of fun in the snow and ice we've had all weekend.

Lolly's Spinach Casserole

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

After a phone call Friday evening that Lolly Shaver had passed away, I was determined to make an ode to her. I visited Lolly on New Year's Eve after making an appointment to go by and see her. Christmas Eve she made the announcement that she was receiving hospice care after over 13 years of fighting ovarian cancer. Our visit was easy and really beautiful as we watched, from her bedroom full of windows, a family of deer passing by along the hills. Her husband Wes would come in and check on our visit from time to time and it was brought up about how much I adore this recipe. She smiled and was surprised that I remembered, step by step, the making of her Spinach Casserole. She laughed as she remembered making it a few years ago with one of Wes' sisters, who dumped out the liquid used to make the sauce, and said, "well, that's just how it was". And that visit was refreshing and sad of course, as I realize now that was the last time I saw her. She got out of her bed to hug me as I continued having no luck fighting back the tears, and said, "this is what it is, I'm fine. Thank you for doing what you do, it's wonderful. I love you". I thought, my goodness, even in her condition knowing she would succumb to cancer, was still making statements like that.

One more Kleenex here and I'll post this fabulous recipe. It will have to replace the easy spinach recipe I made on Thanksgiving in this blog. This is just two more steps to the super high fat and easy casserole I made for Kara's Thanksgiving feast. Today at her funeral (Tuesday, January 19), I was amazed at the graveside service, that our church pastor said this past Sunday, she wanted it to be only 5 minutes without a tent and astro turf. It was beautiful and perfect. Lolly was a Christian, wife, mother, librarian, artist, gardener, grandmother and my friend. She, Wes and Grac came to Jackie and I's wedding in Oklahoma City 17 years ago. I loved her grace, sense of humor and above all, her love of family. I miss her.

An ode to Lolly, Lolly's Spinach Casserole

2 packages frozen spinach, thawed, reserving all the liquid
4 T. butter
4 T. flour
1 C. spinach liquid, or more for smoothness
2 T. chopped onion
1 package Jack Jalapeno cheese, cubed
1 T. Celery Salt
1 T. Worcestershire
1 T. Garlic Salt
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 C. Bread Crumbs, I used Progresso Seasoned Crumbs today

In a small pan, melt the butter and cook the onions until soft. Then add the flour and spinach liquid and cook making the sauce smooth out into a sauce. Then add the cheese and seasonings and top with bread crumbs and bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

I made this Sunday as a side for Harmon and Jeanie's birthday dinner, Kara and I split the menu. I made Blackened Salmon, this spinach, roasted new potatoes and Kara made two loaves of wonderful homemade bread and creme brulee. For an appetizer snack, which Jeanie doesn't care too much for appetizers, I made an olive tapenade with goat cheese on toasts.

I am proud to say I own a watercolor of Lolly's of the Smith farm that will be her legacy in my home.

Currents and the River Inn, Harbor Town

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday, January 4, 2010

The night before the announcement was made that the Razorbacks would play in the Liberty Bowl, Jackie booked a room at this wonderful boutique hotel just across the river in Harbor Town, which really means downtown Memphis. We arrived at 2 pm for an early check-in after our second annual 8 mile Hill and Dale run at Meeman-Shelby Park. I was totally frozen when we arrived and I think suffering from minut hypothermia. Luckily in the cozy lobby of this inn, there was a fire so I stood my legs in front of it while Jackie checked in. It was about 28 degrees when we ran the race at 11 am and I was frozen solid still. Once we made it to our cozy room, I took the longest, and I hoped the hottest shower in the world, but it wasn't hot enough. I know on this blog I rarely complain about things but that hot water heater needed to be set a few degrees higher! I kept praying it would go higher but I finally grabbed the complementary robe and prayed the hair dryer would warm me up. Meanwhile back at the ranch, we hadn't had lunch yet which is a rare thing for this diabetic at 2 pm. We quickly called a cab and headed for the fabulous Felicia Suzanne's restaurant just a mile away. Yes, we could have walked but I was still frozen and it wasn't more than 30 degrees at this point.

The next morning we enjoyed the complementary breakfast at Currents, the posh French American restaurant in the hotel. We were quickly seated and welcomed with Happy New Year and offerings of fresh-squeezed orange juice, grapefruit juice and coffee. On the menu were choices of their famous pancakes, french toast, eggs and bacon or sausage as well as croissants, Eggs Benedict and fruit and muffins. I ordered the eggs and grits thinking low-fat and Jackie got every diabetic's dream, the french toast. I had half my eggs and grits and just a taste of the fabulous, and I mean fabulous french toast with pure maple syrup and plated with strawberries and blueberries. Amazing. My creamy grits were that but the toast was outstanding. The views of the Mississippi river from the restaurant were beautiful.

Luckily our waitstaff knew to keep that coffee coming and it was good but not as strong as I'd prefer. In the wonderful rooms at the inn, there isn't a coffee maker but coffee is available on each floor, with all the amenities, in the reading room area by the elevator. Our floor was out of regular twice when I visited it that morning but had plenty of decaf. After a night of not sleeping, I needed the regular. The amenities were perfect but I wanted that room cooler and ran the fan all night hoping for some shut eye.

Overall, the River Inn is the best place to stay downtown. It definitely competes with the Madison, the Westin, who had rates as high as $300 that night, and of course, the legendary Peabody. It is situated within a half block of Miss Cordelia's grocery which is like a mini-Whole Foods right there in downtown. Currents is a must for an elegant meal. I hope to have dinner in this restaurant soon. By the way, our room was $169 via Travelocity including breakfast and free parking.

River Inn, 50 Harbor Town Square, Memphis 901-260-3333 www.riverinnmemphis.com

Felicia Suzanne's, Memphis

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Liberty Bowl Jan. 2, 2010

This beautiful restaurant opened in 2002 by Felicia Willet, a native of Jonesboro. Felicia graduated from the University of Memphis and received a culinary arts degree with honors from Johnston and Wales University in Charleston. Through an internship with Emeril Lagasse in New Orleans, she wrote and produced the Food Network's Essence of Emeril and Emeril Live. Since she was a child, Felicia dreamed of having her own restaurant and it came true 8 years ago in Downtown Memphis.

Jackie and I first dined in this restaurant when we celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary in 2003. We have eaten here, I'd say, at least once a year for those special occasions like his parent's birthday, a play at the Orpheum and the like. It is still a wonderful place and continues to deliver.

Today's food at Felicia's was in tailgate-style for $25 a person plus an all-you-can-drink $25 wrist band. We didn't want or think we needed the beverage wrist band and, after the fact, it was the right decision even though my house Cabernet and his Ultra were $10. Nevertheless, we ate on chili with pita crisps, spicy chicken wings, breaded catfish on sticks, cheese and toasts, bread pudding, sausage and pepper platters and many more. I really liked the chili and the bread pudding. The catfish was really good and hit my need for more carbs for my low-blood sugar. It was all divine. The tailgate-style party started at noon and we arrived at 2:30 to a live band who were playing Kings of Leon and then rap music when we left. They played a wide-range of music from the town who raised BB King, Elvis and many others older than me.

I love Felicia's and love what she does in downtown Memphis. I can't wait to eat dinner here soon. Benton and Alexis rave over the table in the kitchen she tends to. (Pic #4 is Benton, Alexis and me, look at those pants she got Benton for Christmas)

I have to tell you how to park at Felicia's, just park on Front Street between Monroe and Madison. Then you'll see the sign on the lower floor to Brinkley Plaza. You can take your parking ticket to Felicia's for validation.

Felicia Suzanne's, 80 Monroe, Memphis 901-523-0877 www.feliciasuzanne.com Check out this great website!

Hopping John

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Most every new year I make this southern recipe for Blackeyed Peas. My fabulous sister-in-law Kara reminded me that I didn't make it last year, which may have been the reason Martin had a ruptured appendix and illius, but I am making it this year for better luck for all of us. It's super easy and delicious with southern cornbread. Growing up, I always had the Jiffy cornbread, I love it's sweetness. My mother-in-law can't stand this mix-style cornbread and has converted me to making homemade cornbread in my seasoned cast-iron skillet. She is right, the southern cornbread is way better than Jiffy. But when in a pinch, use the mix. My cornbread recipe is with my Potato Soup recipe. Now to the peas, I found this recipe in a cookbook from right here in Cross County. The Adams' are a really nice, southern family with fabulous cooks and recipes. I have changed this recipe over the years and I'll note my additions like I've done before. I love at the top of the recipe, Mrs. Adams' says, "A New Year's day tradition, and hopefully, the ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS!". We'll see them tomorrow at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. Last year we saw the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Jackie's Commodores beat Boston College some how and then to South Beach Miami where mother's team lost to Florida in the BCS Bowl. Is it just me that complains that all these bowls are so dumb because college football should be played in a tournament fashion? It's the dumbest tradition that makes no sense except to finance sponsors and bowl committees wallets. Alrighty then...now to the peas...

New Year's Day Hopping John

1 lb. blackeyed peas (soak overnight in 6 c. water)
3 pints water (to soak overnight)
1/2 lb sliced salt pork or bacon (today I used the ham bone I froze from that Corky's smoked ham for Kara's Christmas Party, usually I use bacon, partially cooked before adding to peas)
2 t. Tabasco (didn't do this today, I'm sharing these peas with Anne Smith Quessenberry who's home after jaw cancer)
1-1/2 t. salt
2 T. bacon fat
2 medium onions, chopped (1 will do)
1 c. uncooked long grain rice (I like local Riceland, but had Zatarains on hand today)
2 c. boiling water
Things I add:
1-1/2 t. coarse black pepper
1-1/2 t. sage
1-1/2 t. garlic powder
2 T. diced japs

Cover peas with 3 pints (6 cups) water over night. (I drain here, but recipe doesn't say you have to) Add pork, Tabasco and salt and my seasonings. Cover and cook over med low heat for 30 minutes while cooking your onions in bacon fat until tender. Add to peas. Add rice and boiling water. Cook until rice is tender and water absorbed, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. You may have to add a little more water during cooking. Serve with cornbread. (When I first made this, I tried it in a crock pot which is unnecessary, but do allow about an hour of cooking before adding the rice so the peas are tender. I add diced japs and Tabasco to taste)

An easy and hearty New Year's Day meal. Happy New Year! That's Chloe on her bean bag with her dogs after having a bunkin party with her dad in the living room!